Eight tips for using Facebook effectively

bookIs your practice getting the most out of Facebook? Emma Sillars, regional support manager at Practice Plan, shares her Facebook tips to help you get the most out of your practice marketing.

A common question I get asked when I am out and about visiting practices is ‘why should my practice have a Facebook page?’ My response is simple: because social media is the most frequently used platform on the internet and a way of connecting with existing and potential patients. Would you want your dental practice to miss out on this?

With this in mind, here are eight top tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your practice Facebook page.

1. The basics

Make sure you are adhering to the following at all times.

The GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team state that, ‘You must not post any information or comments about patients on social media or blogging sites. If you use professional social media to discuss anonymised cases for the purposes of discussing best practice, you must be careful that the patient or patients cannot be identified.’

The GDC has also published guidance on using social media. It is a good idea to create a social media policy for your staff – that way everyone is aware of how to conduct themselves.

2. Linking up

Do you have a link between your website and your Facebook page, and vice versa? Check the links are in place, that they work, and that they go to the right pages.

3. Be responsive

It is important that if patients ask you questions via Facebook, these are responded to quickly. In the world of social media, this means within 24 hours maximum!

Ensure that a staff member(s) is given the responsibility to check your Facebook page at least once per day in order to respond to queries. Make sure that this responsibility is delegated during times of sickness/holiday.

4. Increase your followers

The first step to increasing your number of Facebook followers is to ask all of your team to like your page. Then encourage them to ask their friends and family to like the page.

This can be done by sending an invite via Facebook. If you have permission to use your patients’ email addresses, you could also send them a request to like your page. If not, pop a poster up in the practice informing your patients all about your Facebook page when they next visit.

5. Posting

Posting on Facebook needs to be done regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, but should be a minimum of once per week.

6. Your content

The rule of thumb here is quality, not quantity.

The simplest way to get your Facebook page featuring on people’s newsfeeds is to create content that people like, comment on and share. Content that people find funny, interesting and/or personal usually generates the most likes, comments and shares. Posts that contain photos and images are usually more popular than text-only posts, getting an average of 53% more likes. The golden rule? Your patients aren’t following your business – they’re following your people.

Let your team members’ personalities shine through – we buy from people who we ‘know, like and trust’, and social media is a good way to establish these qualities. Also, be mindful that Facebook recently altered its rules on promoting services, treatments and offers. Which means that it will be penalising organic newsfeed posts that are overly promotional. Use Facebook Ads to get these promotions across – it will reach a more targeted audience.

7. Planning

It can be difficult and time-consuming to try to think of new posts on the spot, so make sure that you plan your Facebook communications to ensure they are regular, consistent and varied.

Hold a Facebook planning session at your staff meetings. Make a list of topics that could be posted about, for example, health messages, staff updates, topical news, etc, and ask everyone in the team to spend 30-60 minutes creating posts for these topics.

That way, you will have a library of pre-written posts that will only take a few seconds to load. Remember, the purpose of your Facebook page is to engage people by letting your personality shine through, and then interested patients will hopefully visit your website for more detailed information.

8. Monitoring

Make sure that you plan your communications to ensure they are regular, consistent and varied. Review the success of the various posts (in terms of number of friends, likes, shares and comments) so that you can see which messages work best with your particular group of Facebook friends.

Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded patient membership plans and an increasingly significant source of wider business support services for dentistry. So, whether you’re planning a conversion from the NHS, introducing a dental plan into an established practice or looking to change from another plan provider, it can help you take your practice where you want it to go.

Over the years, Practice Plan has helped thousands of dentists introduce membership plans and develop business strategies. Access to regional support managers, customer service advisers and expert marketers as well as dental business consultants and speakers, means a practice will get practical and strategic advice to help them achieve their unique goals.

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